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Henry saga roars on – Replay, or no replay?

November 21, 2009

Football’s latest controversy not only lies solely in the hands of Thierry Henry (excuse the pun), but could well be crucial in the development of technology within the game. As Rob asked in his recent post on the incident, what’s it going to take for the authorities to realise technology is required?

Technology aside, the big question is, what happens now? The whole of Ireland has called for the match to be replayed, and understandably so. Henry himself remarked that Ireland “definitely deserve” to qualify for the 2010 World Cup Finals, and a replay would be the “fairest solution”. It’s easy saying that after the deed has been done though.

I’m completely on the side of the Irish on this one. It was an act of blatant cheating on Henry’s behalf, and something that will take an extremely long time to be pushed beneath the surface, if at all. Of course, everybody in the whole World that’s interested in Football, and some people who aren’t, remember Diego Maradona’s “hand of God” in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final. We English are still going on about it to this day. However, I don’t see a replay being beneficial for the game.

There’s no doubt that it was a major incident, that had big repercussions for both the Irish side in not reaching the Finals in South Africa, and for Henry who has been rightly slaughtered in the press. However, where is the line drawn between a major incident and a minor incident? Is it the outcome of the match? The importance of the match? There are dozens of incidents each week – such as a handball that results in a goal, a dive to win a penalty that snatches a draw or a win (a la David N’gog), or a goal in the 5th minute of injury time when only 3 were allocated – in the Premier League, Champions League, World Cup Qualifiers, Lower Leagues and what have you that  could be deemed as ‘cheating’, but we don’t have replays of all those matches, simply because we accept what’s happened and move on.

Take Eduardo’s dive in the Champions League against Celtic as an example. There was uproar, calling for the Croatian to be banned, for Arsenal to be disqualified, and all sorts, yet when Eduardo was punished, everyone accepted it and there’s been hardly any talk of it since. Yes, the Henry incident potentially cost Ireland a place in the World Cup, but we can’t give them a replay just because it was an International match that decided who plays in the World Cup and who doesn’t. The World Cup isn’t of importance to a League 2 side battling relegation with their Football League status at threat. How would they feel if exactly the same thing happened in one of their matches and they were relegated as a result of it, yet Ireland got a replay because the competition in matter was the World Cup? It would set an unrealistic precedent that when every time an incident like this happens, there would have to be a replay. It’s not plausible.

I believe the necessary sanction is a ban for Henry from the World Cup next year. There’s no question that it was a deliberate handball. You’d have to be deranged to think otherwise. And who cares that he admitted it? That’s not going to change a thing in Irish minds. Henry is the responsible party for shattering Ireland’s dream, and he should be made to pay by sitting out the whole of the competition and hopefully watching his teammates crash out in the group stages.

Roy Keane laughed the matter off in a press conference, stating that Ireland should “get over it” and move on. Solid words from the Ipswich boss, but try telling a hurting Irish population that to their faces. They’ll take a long time to get over this one.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2009 4:10 pm

    It annoyed me that Henry said the game should be replayed AFTER fifa had decided they would not replay the game – a very cunning ploy by the man to try I think to make fifa the bad guys of the piece.

    Although that is what he has done ever since the incident blame everyone else; he’s blamed the referee and claimed “It was just necessary to exploit what was exploitable” – how can you not face a ban or fine for just saying that let alone actually doing it?

    Ok rant over.

  2. maserati4200 permalink
    November 21, 2009 5:25 pm

    A reply is out of the question.

    Henry has, effectively, destroyed his reputation as one of the good guys of world football. A great career that will be overshadowed by blatant cheating and cynical post-match posturing.

    He should be banned from representing France in the 2010 World Cup. Such action will send a strong message to all players who play in South Africa next year.

    The argument for the use of technology is now irrefutable.

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